Saturday, January 6, 2018

The New York Times discovers monarchists

In a new article entitled "What’s the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say" the New York Times notices us, including my friend Charles Coulombe. I hadn't heard of The ISSA Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance, and Sovereignty, but it looks like a worthy endeavor.

Monarchists and Entertainment

The combination of a Facebook discussion yesterday on The King's Speech, and my recent "discovery" of Stranger Things last month nearly a year and a half after everyone else got into it, prompts this observation. As much as I love movies and TV shows about my pet topic of royalty, like The Crown and Victoria, when I watch them, even if I basically enjoy it, there's always a part of me that's judging. "No, that's not right!" Same with classical music (e.g. Mozart in the Jungle). I can't help it. To a lesser extent I suppose that's true even with quasi-medieval fantasy like Game of Thrones. With Stranger Things, and also Breaking Bad (the other modern mainstream show I belatedly decided I liked), there is something liberating about not having to be like that and just being captivated, as millions of others have been, by how extraordinarily well done it is.

That said, Dungeons and Dragons (which I never played as a kid, though I attempted it a couple times in 2014-15 thanks to a younger friend) plays an important role in Stranger Things, and over the years I've occasionally seen republicans in online arguments accuse monarchists of just wanting to play Dungeons and Dragons. So, there's that. Probably not many people are aware that Finn Wolfhard (2002) has the same birthday (December 23) as Emperor Akihito of Japan (1933), Queen Silvia of Sweden (1943), and Grand Duchess Maria of Russia (1953).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thoughts on The Crown

I just finished Season 2 of The Crown. Episode 10 appeased me to some extent after Episode 9, which so offended me. I don't think I fully grasped Peter Hitchens's argument in The Abolition of Britain about the destructive impact of the 1960s satire boom until I saw it dramatised in this episode. The scenes juxtaposing poor Harold Macmillan trying to be a good sport and laugh with the crowd at "Beyond the Fringe" but clearly hurt, the jeers of others including his unfaithful wife, the trial of Stephen Ward, and the Queen's distress at it all as the credibility of the old ruling class is shattered in the Profumo affair, were quite effective, even heartbreaking. 

When people learn that I'm an Anglophile, they sometimes assume that I must love British comedy. Actually, with rare exceptions (e.g. Fawlty Towers), I often don't, because I see British comedy, or at least certain types of British comedy since the 1960s, as having contributed to the undermining of a lot of what I do love about Britain. The sort of Brits I saw on that stage and in that crowd, snarky towards everything, reverent towards nothing, are the sort of Brits I don't like at all, the sort of Brits who make me feel like perhaps it's just as well I don't live there. And while Harold Macmillan (1894-1986) can certainly be criticised, including from the Right, I for one felt deeply sorry for him in this episode.

I quite liked the scene when Princess Margaret claims that her renovations to Kensington Palace will somehow make it more modern and "egalitarian," to which her sister the Queen witheringly responds, "you're the least egalitarian person I know." I can imagine that conversation happening.

But even in this superior (to its predecessor) episode, the end of which seemed to have been deliberately calculated to tug at my heart personally, there was at least one disturbing false note, and that was the Queen's cruel parting remarks to the outgoing PM Macmillan. While the Queen's relations with her Prime Ministers probably could aptly be described as friendliness rather than friendship, if there's one quality of which I do not believe the Queen has an ounce, it's cruelty, and I can't imagine she would have said anything like that to the ailing Macmillan, especially as it involved also disparaging Churchill who the young Queen revered.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

RIP King Michael (1921-2017)

RIP King Michael of Romania (25 October 1921 - 5 December 2017), who was the last living adult head of state from World War II. I am saddened by his death, and even more saddened that he was not restored to the throne. My condolences to the Romanian Royal Family and to all loyal Romanian monarchists.

King Michael (1921-2017) (R) as a boy during his first reign (1927-30), with his cousin Prince Philip of Greece, now the Duke of Edinburgh, also born in 1921, on Romania's Black Sea coast. Incredible that someone who first shared the world stage as a head of state with Calvin Coolidge and King George V was still with us until today.

 Romania now sadly joins the ranks of former monarchies regarding whose successions monarchists are unlikely to reach unanimous agreement. King Michael & Queen Anne (1923-2016) had five daughters, but no sons. According to Romania's last monarchical constitution, which did not provide for female succession, Michael's heir is Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern (b 1952). However, in the absence of a parliament loyal to the Crown, I choose to accept the late King's authority to modify the rules of succession and designate his eldest daughter as his heir, which he did in 2007. So I now recognise HRH Princess Margareta (b 1949), Custodian of the Throne since March 2016, as the rightful Queen of Romania. The King is dead; long live the Queen.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Philip & Elizabeth: Platinum Anniversary

Congratulations to HM The Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh on their 70th anniversary!

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other European royal couples who were married for 70 years, though the remarkable Prince Takahito (1915-2016) and Princess Yuriko (b 1923) of Japan were married for 75 years (1941-2016).

King Michael (b 1921) & Queen Anne (1923-2016) of Romania were married for 68 years (1948-2016).
Prince Henri (1908-1999) & Princess Isabelle (1911-2003), Count & Countess of Paris, were also married for 68 years (1931-99), but had separated in 1986.
Queen Juliana (1909-2004) & Prince Bernhard (1911-2004) of the Netherlands were married for 67 years (1937-2004, her death), but had also separated.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927-2016) & Queen Sirikit (b 1932) of Thailand were married for 66 years (1950-2016).
Prince Alfonso (1841-1934) & Princess Antonia (1851-1938) of the Two Sicilies, Count & Countess of Caserta, were married for nearly 66 years (1868-1934).
Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) & Empress Nagako (1903-2000) of Japan were married for 64 years (1924-89).
Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm (1819-1904) and Grand Duchess Augusta (1822-1916) of Mecklenburg-Strelitz were married for nearly 61 years (1843-1904).
Prince Pedro of Brazil (1913-2007) & Princess Esperanza of the Two Sicilies (1914-2005) were married for 60 years (1944-2005).
King Nikola I (1841-1921) & Queen Milena (1847-1923) of Montenegro were married for 60 years (1860-1921).

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Providence and Americanism

There's an irritating October 26 New York Times article by David Brooks, trying to make a tortured analogy between the Republicans of 2017 and the Bolsheviks of 1917, and it irritates me not only because David Brooks's main purpose in life seems to be being the sort of "conservative" that liberals find palatable. What's worse is that it arrogantly asserts that the "traditional" American way of being Christian--assuming that Democracy and Equality are moral imperatives--is the only way. Brooks implies that the "hierarchical societies" that dominated the world prior to the revolutions of 1776 and 1789 (and to a lesser extent until 1917)--that is, the great majority of Christian history, let alone world history--weren't really Christian, and that ancient thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle were deficient because they wouldn't have understood Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. It would make more sense to reject Christianity entirely than to believe that somehow no one really figured it out for its first 1750 years or so, but that appears to be what many Christians--including "conservatives"--believe these days. If "universal democracy" is "the global fulfillment of the providential plan," count me out. But perhaps Providence has ideas other than those of David Brooks.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Infanta Alicia centennial

Today would have been the 100th birthday of the genealogically remarkable Infanta Alicia of Bourbon-Parma, Duchess of Calabria (1917-2017), had she not died in March. The last surviving royal born before the end of World War I (in Vienna where Emperor Karl still reigned), she was the heiress by cognatic primogeniture of the Kings of Navarre, Edward the Confessor of England, David I of Scotland, and of the Jacobite (Stuart) claim to the English and Scottish thrones if uncle-niece marriages were excluded. Since her son Carlos (1938-2015) predeceased her, her grandson Pedro Duke of Noto (b 1968), also a claimant to the throne of the Two Sicilies, is the current heir to those theoretical claims. While at 99 she was not exactly cut off in her prime, I was sorry she didn't make her 100th birthday as she came so close. (Only one person of European royal birth has ever reached 100: Infanta Maria Adelaide of Portugal (1912-2012).) Here is Infanta Alicia pictured with Queen Sofia of Spain.

She was succeeded as oldest living European royal by the comparatively obscure Duchess Woizlawa of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Princess Reuss (b 17 Dec 1918).